Local Sports, Sports, University

Hawks finally get revenge on Bucs for last season’s playoff upset

MORGANTOWN — The University High School boys’ basketball team had been waiting 332 days for Friday’s contest against Buckhannon-Upshur.

After all, it was the Bucs who knocked UHS out of the Class AAAA sectional tournament last year and ended its season.

“I have been thinking about this for eight, nine, 10 months – whatever it has been,” UHS head coach Joe Schmidle admitted. “I’m still (mad).”

Conversely, the Bucs used that win over the Hawks as a springboard to this season where they are off to an 8-3 start.

Make that an 8-4 start after UHS picked up a convincing 66-45 victory on Friday.

“Everyone of these guys remembers that game,” Schmidle said of his players on this year’s team. “These were the starters in that game last year. I am proud of them for tonight. They came out and once we got the rebounding situation figured out, we out-rebounded them big time in the second half.”

UHS took a 33-24 lead into halftime thanks to some timely shooting from Carson Ford who hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter to push the Hawks’ lead from 23-20 to 29-20 and the 11-point cushion at halftime.

“We placed an emphasis on rebounding tonight,” Schmidle said. “I thought if we could control the boards, we could win. They are so big, they play ugly, they are a talented team, they are just so physical, and they get a lot of points off second-chance shots.”

University also relied on a pesky defense that forced 14 turnovers and frustrated a B-U team that tried to use its inside muscle to win the contest.

“My concern tonight was that we did win last year, and I expect that they have thought about that a long time,” B-U coach Jason Westfall said. “No one expected that last year. That win was almost like four wins in one for us – especially against a good program like University. We want respect now too, but we did not show what we wanted to show tonight.”

University took control of the game in the third quarter as it held the Bucs to just three field goals. Both teams traded fouls in the fourth quarter, and it showed in the stat sheet as the teams combined for 27 free throws in the period.

While the game was hectic at times and played at a physical pace, it was UHS senior James Fortney-Garbart who provided a calming presence on the floor.

Schmidle said Fortney-Garbart is like having another coach on the team because his basketball IQ is so high, and he is able to recognize things quickly.

“You just got to stay calm, cool and collected,” Fortney-Garbart said. “You have to know what is going on in the game and keep your cool so the other guys can keep their cool and keep their heads in the game.”

The game even got chippy early in the third quarter when a B-U player drew a technical foul for pushing a UHS player.

That technical resulted in two foul shots for UHS that Fortney-Garbart calmly sank. He finished with a game-high 23 points along with six rebounds and three assists. He also missed just two shots from the field and one free throw. John Coleman added 12 points to the UHS cause while Jaden Westfall led the Bucs with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

University returns to action today when it travels to Musselman in a make-up contest.


University 66, Buckhannon-Upshur 45

              1            2            3            4            F
B-U        12          12          8            13          45
UHS       15          18          16          17          66
B-U – McDaniels 0 0-2 0, Ringer 1 1-2 3, Johnson 1 1-4 1, Zuliani 2 1-2 5, Williams 1 0-0 4, Marple 0 1-2 1, Jev. Westfall 2 0-0 5, Strader 3 1-3 7, Jad. Westfall 7 4-6 19. Totals: 17 9-23 45.
UHS – Henderson 0 1-2 1, Jackson 3 1-2 7, Coleman 5 2-2 12, Hudson 3 0-0 5, Brown 0 2-2 2, Byrer 0 1-2 1, Demidovich 2 1-4 6, Ford 2 1-2 7, Fortney-Garbart 9 5-6 23. Totals: 23 16-24 66.
3-Pointers – B-U: Jev. Westfall, Jad. Westfall. UHS: Hudson, Demidovich, Ford 2.